Vladimir Putin cultivates the image of a down-to-earth, if multi-talented, guy with simple tastes. He once likened his job as president of Russia to being a "galley slave." Which is why an opposition leader today released a report detailing all the perks of office this particular galley slave enjoys. Among them:
- A $75,000 toilet on a presidential plane, an aircraft that includes an $18 million cabin studded with jewels
- That plane is one of 58 aircraft, including helicopters, at Putin's disposal
- 11 watches (those are just the ones spotted in photos) worth somewhere around $700,000
- A five-deck yacht complete with a massive marble bathroom; at least three other "lesser" yachts are in service
- 20 stately homes, including a 2,300-acre estate on Russia's Lake Valdai
"One of the most serious reasons prompting V. Putin to hold on to power is the atmosphere of wealth and luxury to which he has become accustomed," writes Boris Nemtsov. "In a country where more than 20 million people barely make ends meet, the luxurious life of the president is a blatant and cynical challenge to society. "